Nick Gray of London, UK, based creative lighting practice Renegade designed lighting for the main British Fashion Council (BFC) space in Somerset House and other rooms, along with numerous cutting-edge off site shows in one of his busiest Fashion Weeks to date.
The off-site shows included Mulberry, Julien Macdonald, Temperley, Emilio de la Morena, Hardy Amies, Rocksander and others, all staged in an assortment of venues from Claridges Hotel to the British Museum atrium - engaging Gray and his team in a relentless week of activity - utilising four main lighting rental supplies - Neg Earth, Panalux, Shok London and White Light and over 50 crew.
Gray brought his own style and creative edge to the proceedings, together with his very individual approach of treating each space as a fabulous, unique and special environment into which the lighting and production should blend and harmonise.
BFC Tent, Somerset House
Gray lit all the shows in here, so a production lighting rig of 180 Source Four profiles was provided, with standard overhead positions and front cover. A miscellany of specials were brought in for specific shows including Mark Fast, Jaeger, Daks and Mario Schwab, and additional lighting was also needed for highlighting the set and scenics on some shows.
Renegade purchased a new Chamsys MQ100 Pro lighting console for the event, which was used in the BFC space, operated by Paulus van Heijkant, which is now added to their fast expanding inventory of control consoles in which Chamsys features prominently.
The back wall was lit with a bank of 18 Svoboda battens, which made a big statement and also provided a nice even tungsten blast of light perfectly matched with the quality of tungsten from the Source Fours.
For the reception area at Somerset House, the design involved many discreet structural elements on to which lights could be hung, including special tubes that spanned the roof beams onto which Gray introduced over 120 different sized and shaped vintage lightbulbs in a festoon arrangement. They introduced a cheeky, interesting quirkiness to the space.
Another rig was installed in the Portico Rooms for smaller events, and throughout the week this had to be switched between tungsten and daylight rigs several times, a time consuming but highly effective exercise. The Reception Areas and the Seaman's Waiting Hall were also lit as part of Renegade's brief.
All lighting fixtures for the BFC areas were supplied by Neg Earth, a regular Renegade supplier.
Moving offsite, Nick Gray enjoyed one of his busiest LFWs to date, as his innovative work and approach further permeates the genre of fashion lighting, all triggering a buzz of activity and a massive logistical planning operation.
Alice Temperley's high profile show returned to the main atrium of the British Museum, following the stunning impact last time - and is still the only LFW show to utilise this very special and grand space.
Gray repeated his winning formula from the last show, with a minimal approach, lighting the area with just 32 Source Four profiles with different angled lenses. As well as illuminating the models, he enhanced the fabulous architecture, grazing the large curved wall and sweeping stone staircases which define the space with moody shafts of light. It was elegant, contrasty lighting to compliment the environment and the considerable style and flair of the collection.
The main challenge was the get in and preparation time which was very restricted due to the Museum being open to the public throughout the day. They had 2 hours to start and build the trusses between 7 and 9 a.m., and then another 2 hours between 6 and 8 p.m. - to finish off, focus and programme before the show started promptly at 8.
Lights were located in 6 key positions and wireless DMX was utilised to maximise all possible time saving opportunities during the get in. The kit was supplied by White Light, with Chris Fyfe operating.
Julien MacDonald was a smaller but equally classy show, this time staged at 29 Portland House, a centrally located boutique period venue. The only available power was a series of 13A sockets, and to get around these limitations, Renegade installed lots of in-line DMX controlled dimmers all hooked into the local sockets.
The integrity of the airy white space was preserved with white upright stands rigged with chrome Source Four PARs.
New for Gray and Renegade this season was the Emilio de la Morena show at the newly refurbished Corinthia Hotel, the first event to be staged in the beautiful ballroom of this venue, complete with an airy atmospheric blend of elegance and modernism.
Gray and his team - Panalux supplied the kit - installed a U-shaped truss hung on 8 concealed 1 tonne house rigging points, which was above a U-shaped runway, with over 100 Source Fours. The show was operated by Chris Fyfe using one of Renegade's Chamsys Maxi Wings.
Fashion East was staged in the Haunch of Venison gallery - part of the Royal Academy Buildings - where the catwalk spanned two rooms and was centred to the current collection of priceless artworks hanging on the walls.
Gray's design consisted of upright white powder coated trusses and scaffolding, including a front truss array to cover photography positions, and chrome fixtures, which juxtaposed tastefully with the space.
Hardy Amies scaled up from last time with a larger show at the 1 Mayfair venue, where Gray used variable lensed Source Fours, arranged on a double-stacked front array giving two levels of light, with the runway lights rigged off side bars all the way round the room. Again, this was a White Light supply.
For Rocksander at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, two different rooms interconnected by a stairwell and landing were used for the show, with camera and video crews in both. The main lighting was positioned on two goal-post trusses, and was from White Light and operated by Chris Fife using another Renegade Maxi Wing.
Nick Gray parachuted in (well, not quite literally, but not far off!!) to London fashion Week hot from a Mulberry 40th anniversary event atop a New York skyscraper, featuring live music from Uk indie rockers Kasabian - one of the bands he also LDs.
The leasing label's LFW show was in Claridges Hotel and featured an amazing installation by acclaimed neon artist Chris Bracey (Gods Own Junkyard) and a Seaside/fairground themed set.
Renegade co-ordinated all the specialist dimming needed to integrate the neon and various other eclectic lighting elements - like 60V fairground bulbs - into the overall control. This was broken down into 40 channels of set lighting control and run from the same console as Gray's production lighting rig, hung on a box truss at one end of the room and a goal-post at the other. Additional Martin MAC 301s were brought in to light up the audience and involve them in the action.
"It was a real fun show," comments Gray, adding that serious energy went into making all the visual aspects work seamlessly together!
Immediately after Mulberry's second show (on the same day) was over, the White Light and Renegade crews dismantled and re-rigged almost all the lighting and structures to be ready for Mulberry's party and gala reception that same evening, which was headlined by rock band, The Hurts. For stage lighting they added some Martin MAC 700 Spots and Washes, strobes and mounted some of the neon artworks on the trusses.
Says Gray, "It was a really demanding week to say the least! The logistics of dealing with that many shows, companies and people, sourcing enough experienced crew familiar with the venues is immense. Apart from that, delivering such a wide variety of aesthetic requirements and creative concepts is a real brain and imagination tester! But all thoroughly enjoyable and a great tribute to the skills and professionalism of all involved".
It is also an excellent illustration of how adept Renegade is at delivering the many different creative briefs and in production managing all the practical and technical elements to make them a reality.
For more press information on Renegade, please call Louise Stickland on +44 7831 329888 or +44 1865 202679 or EMail : [email protected] To contact Renegade direct, please call Nick Gray on +44 7795 095427 or check www.renegadedesign.co.uk.